PositiveThe New York Review of BooksHer book is not without flaws. It is far too long, often overwrought, and employs far too much jargon. Its treatment of Google, which dominates the first half, will strike anyone who has spent time in the industry as too conspiracy-minded, even for those disposed to be critical. Other books...offer more technically sophisticated coverage of much of the same territory. But I view all of this as forgivable, because Zuboff has accomplished something important. She has given new depth, urgency, and perspective to the arguments long made by privacy advocates and others concerned about the rise of big tech and its data-collection practices. By providing the crucial link between technological surveillance and power, she makes previous complaints about \'creepiness\' or \'privacy intrusions\' look quaint. This is achieved, in part, through her creation of a vocabulary that captures the significance of tech surveillance ... Viewed broadly, Zuboff has made two important contributions here. The first is to tell us something about the relationship between capitalism and totalitarian systems of control. The second is to deliver a better and deeper understanding of what, in the future, it will mean to protect human freedom.
PositiveThe Washington PostAlter’s sweep is broad: He includes not just the more obvious addictive technologies such as slot machines and video games, but the whole sweep of social media, dating apps, online shopping and other binge-inducing programs. He takes in everything whose business model depends on being irresistible (which today is most things). If he’s right, most of us are nursing at least a few minor 'behavioral addictions' and perhaps a major one as well. By the end of his enjoyable yet alarming book, you may be convinced that Alter is right and want to seriously rethink the behavioral addictions in your life ... Alter directs his sharpest criticism at those who are intentionally designing addictive technologies — that is, much of the high-tech industry.